Eye For Film >> Movies >> Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1968) Film Review
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode
Out in the middle of the desert, a young couple encounter three strippers who are having fun racing their car. Naively, the young man accepts a challenge to a race, and then to a fight, underestimating the toughness and aggression of his opponents. After he is killed, the women take his girlfriend hostage and set off in search of further fun. But when they stop at an isolated farmhouse whose residents have their own dubious agendas, things start to fall apart...
The plot of Faster Pussycat is a slender one, but that doesn't really matter, because it's not the reason people are drawn to the film. Probably the most famous of Russ Meyer's works, it stands out because of its energy and its bad attitude. Its incoherent yet vigorous approach to stringing together a series of action sequences and semi-pornographic exploitation scenes is surprisingly endearing, being utterly bereft of pretension. Sure, it's trash, but it has absolutely no compunctions about that - and what's more, it's trash with style.
Among the most engaging of Meyer's early films, Faster Pussycat benefits tremendously from Tura Satana's charismatic performance as Varla, the leader of the gang. Sure, Meyer has gratuitous fun focusing his camera on her striking physique, but it's impossible to take seriously accusations of sexism when she dominates the film with sheer force of personality. Very few contemporary films gave women the chance to perform like this. Although she's clearly a few bullets short of a full barrel, and is overall a nasty piece of work, it's hard not to take her side as she schemes, shouts and wrestles her way to getting what she wants.
As always, Meyer's photography is stunning, his love of his subjects transforming into a cinematic exuberance which captivates the audience. The dialogue may be dreadful, the sets shaky, the supporting characters badly drawn, but the whole thing is so much fun that it's easy to see how it became a cult classic. Shot through with the director's characteristic sly humour, it makes no apologies and takes no prisoners. It has spawned numerous copycats, but none with the balls to match it. This is the real thing.Reviewed on: 12 May 2007